Loan program boosts lower-income areas in The City 

Mayor Gavin Newsom is rolling out an $11.5 million loan program aimed at bolstering economic development and the arts in the central Market Street and Tenderloin ­neighborhoods.

In two weeks, property owners, tenants and businesses can begin tapping into a new city-run loan program that will give them the financial means to invest in development projects that strengthen the cultural arts and entertainment functions in two of The City’s lower-income neighborhoods.

Newsom used his Tuesday afternoon budget speech, which took place in a mid-Market Street nonprofit, to unveil details of his Central Market Cultural District Loan Fund. Property owners or tenants could access a loan ranging from $250,000 to $1 million to pay for job-creating projects. The loan, which will have an interest rate between 4 and 6 percent, can be used for buying real estate, paying for business operations and covering legal fees related to projects, said Amy Cohen, the mayor’s director of neighborhood business development. The money will come from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds.

“It’s hard to get a loan right now,” Cohen said. “It’s not free money, but it will make a substantial impact.”

The initiative is one of many Newsom has launched to help struggling businesses and property owners access capital. This year, he also started a green-finance program to help businesses and property owners pay for making environmental improvements to their homes or businesses. Also, he started a revolving loan fund to help smaller businesses get started in San ­Francisco.

The loans will help areas such as the Tenderloin and mid-Market Street create an arts-based economy that generates jobs and revenue, said Elvin Padilla, executive director of the Tenderloin Economic ­Development Project.

“We obviously have a huge need for business and job development, and the need for civic and human development,” Padilla said. “I think it would be cool to see a San ­Francisco-­based art and culture economy take root and flourish there.”


Chance to get started

$11.5 million Total funds available in loan program
$250,000 to $1M Range of loan amounts
20 Life, in years, of loans

Source: Mayor’s Office

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